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Can a 2nd gen take in the front and be saveable? I got hit real hard on the right front tire from the side. Spun me 90 degrees. I'm going to go look at it on Monday and get some pictures.
 

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Sure. Subframes can be bought reasonably priced. I've seen some with rebuilt suspensions already on them. The main problem would be if the body mounts were tweeked or ripped.
 

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You can pretty much buy the whole front of the car these days. So as long as the firewall suffered no real damage you can rebuild the car.
 

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You can pretty much buy the whole front of the car these days. So as long as the firewall suffered no real damage you can rebuild the car.
^ Even then, it can be measured and fixed. (In most cases).
 

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^ Even then, it can be measured and fixed. (In most cases).
Actually I could use some help with that. I got a used control arm on. I removed about half of the shims. Both the front and back bolt had a little over a half inch of shims. I left 2 1/8 shims each on the front and back. It appears by the eyeball that I still have significant negative camber. And it also looks like the top ball joint is further forward than the lower, which should be the opposite for positive caster.

What are the measurements i can make to see how much subframe bend I have? How do I know I have the proper right side upper front control arm bolted on? I just trusted that the vender sent me the right one.

There is also a significant frame ding I'll want to pull out eventually for aesthetic reasons. I guess if this thing is way out I could get a racing type upper control arm that uses adjustable rods. I also thought of offset control arm shafts but I don't think that'll be enough to get there.
 

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Only way to set the camber/caster/toe properly is on an alignment rack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I looked at the control arm cross shafts and plotted their line. The imaginary line crosses the front bumper at approximately the same symmetrical point. I'm not too worried.

The clutch has approximately one inch more play in the pedal and the ignition lock won't go to the off position, so things have indeed shifted around a bit.
 

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The passenger side of the hood is raised about an inch at the hinge after replacing the fender. It was also this way with the damaged fender. Since the hood bolts to the fender via the hinge, all I can think of is a bent hinge, but I don't see anything obvious. The hinge is already adjusted all the way down ie bolts are riding on the top of the slots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The passenger side of the hood is raised about an inch at the hinge after replacing the fender. It was also this way with the damaged fender. Since the hood bolts to the fender via the hinge, all I can think of is a bent hinge, but I don't see anything obvious. The hinge is already adjusted all the way down ie bolts are riding on the top of the slots.
I feel like I'm talking to myself. The last person out of here turn off the lights.

I'm used to the corvette forums where you have half a dozen responses in 2 minutes.

Anyway I think I have the raised up hood problem figured if anyone cares. The inner part of the hood separated from the outer or top. This is going to be a pain to fix. I'll have to clamp it or sit a big weight on it and use some super strong glue or seam sealer. Welding will ruin the paint.
 

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Sounds like the car took a damn hard hit to separate the hood like that, I'm thinking replacing the hood would be best since it is probably twisted as well if it took a hit good enough to separate it like that. I've done some alignments myself at home with a Fastrax tool and a rig I made for measuring toe in. I don't know if it is as precise as what an alignment shop can get on a rack, but what I like is that I can change the settings myself and get the steering feel I like, and not just what some manual says. My tires are wearing fine, and I would have gone broke if I took my car to an alignment shop every time I wanted to try a different setting just to learn about how some change effects the way the car feels. Basically, I like the factory settings OK (which are different from year to year, even for Camaro vs. Firebird), but I like a bit more castor. When I finally got the front end where I like it, I figured what is the use in taking it to a rack at that point. In most cases I've seen, and those are from what looks like the frame sagging under the engine over the years, when you have to stack shims to the maximum amount to get back close to good settings, something is kinda bent. I suppose, that if there is enough adjustment in the body panels to make everything look square, even, and the gaps come out good, and you can shim the upper control arms to get the front end back in, then maybe that is something you can live with. Then there is ride height difference from the left to right side, you are however factoring in old springs and other things that can make a car sit uneven, without ever being wrecked. I think most cars are not exactly the same left to right side, but if it is bad enough that you see an obvious difference just by looking at it, there is most likely something really bent, or is binding, especially on a car that sat good before the wreck. In the end, if all the bent stuff is replaced, or straightened, the car sits pretty level, the body panels line up, and the front end can be at least shimmed back in, and the car tracks straight, rides and steers good, call it fixed, at least for a daily driver. If something can not be put back either in the body panel fit, front end alignment, or ride height, I would take it to a frame shop and see if they can straighten out something, then start over with all the adjustments. If the front sub frame is really tweaked, but the frame shop says mounting points/unibody floor pan area is still OK, time to get a new front subframe....maybe one of those nice aftermarket kind !!!
 

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. I don't know if it is as precise as what an alignment shop can get on a rack, but what I like is that I can change the settings myself and get the steering feel I like, and not just what some manual says. My tires are wearing fine, and I would have gone broke if I took my car to an alignment shop every time I wanted to try a different setting just to learn about how some change effects the way the car feels. Basically, I like the factory settings OK (which are different from year to year, even for Camaro vs. Firebird), but I like a bit more castor.alignment, or ride height, I would take it to a frame shop and see if they can straighten out something,
The way I do alignments is just keep making small changes until I'm happy with the way the car feels. You need more toe-in than factory spec to get a wheel you don't have to constantly fight to keep it in a straight line and that creates more tire wear but that's the cost of having a nice driving vehicle. Most of us have tires that dry rot way before they wear out anyway.

These old cars were never that precise from the factory. You see gobs of 1/8 inch shims in all the panels.

The other thing I found out about hood hinges is that to lower the back of the hood, you need to push the back of the hinge down and raise the front of the hinge up. That rotates the hinge and furthers the sissor closing action, lowering the hood.

I'm not sure any frame shops know how to work on these things. There are some front end measurements in "trans am and firebird restoration" by Melvin Benzaquen and that helps.
 
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